Initial Publication Date: October 6, 2014

Letter from Editor in Chief Cindy Shellito

This month geoscientists from across North America will gather in Vancouver, B.C., for the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. Vancouver, a place long touted for fantastic scenery and complex geologic history, provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to consider the power of a place to inspire interest in geoscience.

In this issue we explore the power of place—and the role of field trips—in inspiring students to learn about local geology. In our feature article, Dan Vice and Harold Aurand share their experiences developing an interdisciplinary course aimed at connecting students with local history and geology through a series of field trips, with the goal of having students understand the links between environmental history and cultural heritage. Finding new ways to provide students with integrative educational experiences is something to keep in mind as we consider how to adopt and implement Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Along these lines, Kurtz Miller's article in this issue continues our ongoing examination of NGSS and its implications for how we teach science.

Also in this issue we celebrate accomplished geoscience educators and emerging leaders in the field by highlighting this year's recipients of the NAGT, GSA and CUR Education Division awards and recipients of this year's Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Awards (pages 7-12). Please join us in congratulating this year's award recipients and take some time to gather inspiration from their accomplishments!

Looking ahead—We invite article submissions for future issues of In The Trenches on the following themes: teaching complex systems, climate literacy, oceanography, and undergraduate research in the first two years of college. We also invite you to submit articles that continue discussion on NGSS, including ideas for implementation and assessment. Please share with us your teaching ideas, favorite demonstrations, and experiences with new teaching strategies or innovative courses. To suggest content, use the form at: